The trial against Roj-TV is set to begin on Tuesday, 19 October in Copenhagen at the City Court. As reported earlier in a case overview by Kurdistan Commentary an indictment was issued against the Kurdish satellite TV station and its parent company, Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S METV. The indictment against the station was filed by the Danish Prosecutor General’s office for violation of Penal Code §114e. Under this provision in Danish law, it is an offence for a person, group, or association to promote the affairs of a terrorist organisation. The indictment is for ‘promoting the affairs of the terrorist organisation, PKK’ (Kurdistan Workers’ Party or Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan in Kurdish).
Protests in support of Roj-TV have been held in Europe and Turkey during the past week. Demonstrators took to the streets in Izmir (Turkey) and Berlin (Germany). In Brussels last week, more than 100 members of the Roj-TV staff staged a demonstration to vocalise their displeasure with the case against their station. They held up a red, green and yellow banner in French reading ‘Roj-Tv est la voix du peuple Kurde’ (Roj-TV is the voice of the Kurdish people).
video clip of Roj-TV employees demonstrating in Brussels
In a press release by Roj-TV staff they say the case against Roj-TV is
in line with the request of [the] Turkish state and the international forces, is not only an injustice committed against Kurds but also a big blow to the freedom of thought and information. It is a massacre against thought and more importantly, it is an intervention, which does not regard the will, language, culture, art and political identity of the Kurds whose population has reached 40 million in the world.
The Turkish state is persecuting the Kurdish media within its borders, whilst at the same time doing its utmost to try to silence the Kurdish press and media outside of its borders. With its policy of persecuting Kurdish press and media, freedom of thought, Turkey is well-known around the world for its disrespect for the freedom of speech, free media and thought. Using every diplomatic opportunity both locally and internationally, the Turkish state has always stated that criminalising the Kurdish cause and bringing onboard international support is directly link to the ineffectiveness of Kurdish media and press and in particular ROJ TV. The Turkish state war against Kurdish media and press is somewhat significant. In this war, it firstly censors the Kurdish media after which it issues millions of pounds and issues years of prison sentences, and if these do not work it results to the full closure. In essence, alongside its diplomatic attempts the Turkish government has utilized millions of dollars at trying to close down ROJ TV. When it could not defeat the consciousness of the international community, Turkey has tried to gain the support of individual countries. Clearly, The Danish Prosecutor indictment against ROJ TV is an indication of these dirty politics based on self-interest. As indicated above, The Turkish state has utilized all its attempts to try to silence ROJ TV both within Europe and Denmark. The Copenhagen Prosecutor contains the complaints directly advocated by Turkey.
For the full press release see Libre News, Roj-TV employees staged protest in Brussels.
In response to a question posed on Twitter by one of his followers, senior Roj-TV official Amed Dicle (@AmedDcle) said the chances of the closure of Roj-TV are ‘fifty-fifty.’
Partial timeline of events in Roj-TV’s history:
• 09 December 2003: Roj-TV receives broadcasting licence in Denmark
• 01 March 2004: Roj-TV begins broadcasting
• July 2005: Investigation begins
• November 2005: Turkish PM Erdoğan refuses to attend press conference with Danish counterpart Rasmussen because Roj-TV was present
• May 2007: Danish Radio and Television Board announces that Roj-TV has not violated any laws regarding incitement to hatred or violence
• 24 February 2008: Belgian officials fine Roj-TV €4.25m (later annulled)
• 19 June 2008: Germany bans Roj-TV broadcasts
• mid-2008: Zonoozi steps down from position as head of Roj-TV in Denmark
• 01 April 2009: Danish prosecutors sent to Ankara to investigate links between Roj-TV and the PKK
• 04 April 2009: Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen selected to be NATO’s next Secretary General
• 01 August 2009: Rasmussen becomes NATO Secretary General
• 24 February 2010: German ban on Roj-TV abolished
• 04 March 2010: Roj-TV offices raided in Belgium
• May 2010: Zonoozi goes to Berlingske Tidene to give his story
• 31 August 2010: Danish Prosecutor General’s office announces indictment against Roj-TV; offices raided; bank accounts confiscated
• 07 October 2010 Prosecutor Lise-Lotte Nilas asked the Copenhagen district court to revoke Roj-TV’s broadcasting licence
• 19 October 2010 Trial begins in Copenhagen